Think back to your childhood. You and a friend were walking home from getting an ice cream cone and it seemed like a long walk, so you decided to take a shortcut through the neighbor’s back yard. What sounded like a good idea turned out to not be so good when their big dog chased after you.
If you have followed any of our posts, or been around us for any period of time, you know that we talk about the importance of having a meaningful and personal relationship with God. Not just a casual now and then kind of relationship, but one that is to be pursued with every ounce of fiber within you. Psalm 42:1 puts it this way, As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Or picture this – Someone holds your head under water for a period of time. Your lungs become emptied of oxygen and in those moments all your focus is on getting your head above water and taking another breath of fresh air. That is the same passion in which we are called to seek after God. And not “knowing about” God in the same way as you learned about Abraham Lincoln in school, but rather, spending time with God and in His Word, and in the process getting to really know God and allowing Him to change you!
In Chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of Matthew we find what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount; a collection of the teachings of Jesus. In one of those teachings, found in Mt 7:13-14, Jesus talks about truly pursuing God and the ways of God. In Bibles that have chapter titles and subtitles this section is often titled, “The Narrow and Wide Gates.” We want to share those verses with you, in which Jesus talks about passionately pursuing a relationship with God, as taken from The Message.
Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easy-going formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life – to God! – is vigorous and requires total attention. (Mt 7:13-14)
So today, and as you dream about next year, we ask you, are you content to casually look for God or are you desperate for Him? Are you happy just to know a few things about Him or are you looking for intimacy with Him? The way to God and an abundant life requires your full effort and attention. Shortcuts do not work.
New Bern, North Carolina